When Zen architecture was introduced and the first Ryzen CPUs were announced, it had issues with RAM. The problem was, it did not go well with every memory module, this problem was fixed with chipset and BIOS updates. So even the best budget DDR4 RAM is good enough for a Zen, Zen+, and Zen 2 CPU these days.
Since other components are so expensive, specifically a GPU, we thought we should recommend budget RAM to save money. Ryzen is still a hungry CPU and requires a good memory speed. But these memory modules have more than enough clock speed.
Remember you can always overclock your memory if you have a good cooling solution. With the introduction of Ryzen CPUs which are unlocked by default, you can overclock your components fairly easily.
Before that, Intel had the option of overclocking on only the CPUs ending with K in their models. But they were far too expensive compared to their normal counterparts.
Overclocking memory might end up reducing the life of memory though, so we do not recommend it. Though if you stick to something over 2666MHz you will not need to overclock.
Most of the memory modules we reviewed were around 3000MHz, all of them are compatible with both Intel and Ryzen. So you can choose any memory module from our list and be okay with it.
But first, we need to go through a small buyer’s guide:
Buyer’s Guide for Budget DDR4 RAM
Memory modules are classified by 3 things in total. One is the capacity, which is measured in Gigabytes these days. After that, there is the clock cycle, which is the speed measured in MHz nowadays. Lastly, there is the latency, which we will explain shortly.
We all know about the capacity since RAM is a form of memory, it must have some capacity. But let us briefly talk about clock cycles and latency.
Clock Cycle in Memory Modules
Usually measured in MHz these days, the clock cycle is the number of cycles a RAM can perform per second. The higher the number of cycles a RAM can perform, the more data it can read and store.
A RAM stores data the processor requires into itself and passes it onto the CPU at high speeds. If our hard drives had such high speeds, we would not need memory modules.
Although SSDs are a much faster means of storage, it still does not compare to the performance of a high-speed memory module. But then again, RAM is volatile memory, it does not store data in itself permanently.
If a RAM is good for 3000MHz clock cycles, then it will perform 3 billion cycles a second. That is some ultra blazing speed we are talking about right there.
Latency in RAM
Ever see a numeric sequence on your RAM like this 15-16-16-35? This is the latency of RAM, let us summarize what it means for you. Latency is the number of clock cycles RAM requires to give the data CPU asks for from it.
It is basically the time memory modules require to retrieve data for the CPU. The first digit in the sequence is usually the most important one. It is called CAS Latency, or Column Access Strobe Latency.
The lower the latency the faster a memory module performs. But higher capacity and clock cycle speed memory modules have higher latency, does that mean it is not good?
DDR3 had lower latency than DDR4, but since the clock cycle speeds on DDR4 are much higher, it makes it way better than DDR3.
But if you have an opportunity of getting a lower latency memory module with the same clock cycle and capacity, you should always opt for that for further better performance.
Best Budget DDR4 RAM Compatible with Most Modern CPU Setups
The Corsair Vengeance series of memory modules are great budget memory modules. Vengeance LPX is the basic one, it has great performance, just no RGB.
There is literally no difference between the RGB, RGB Pro, and LPX memory modules of the Vengeance series from Corsair. The only difference is that LPX is a low profile, it just has heat spreader and no RGB whatsoever.
Performance-wise they perform the same. So why not go for LPX and save some money while you get the same performance. But it does come in different colors for a gamer aesthetic.
The 3000MHz 8×2 kit has a latency of 15, which makes it ideal for most setups. It will pair perfectly with a 3rd Generation Ryzen and 9th or 10th Generation Intel CPU.
If you are planning on gaming, 16GB installed in a dual-channel setup is more than enough for your needs. If you are someone using your setup in video editing it will still perform pretty decent.
HyperX Fury DDR3 was one of the top memory modules back when DDR3 was still a thing. DDR4 is no exception as it is one of the best RAM in the market.
Of course, it is slightly expensive, it does not make it very budget-friendly. But it is still a very good memory module under $100, which makes it pretty budget if you ask us.
Setup a 16GB, 8×2 kit in a dual channel on your motherboard and you will not be disappointed. It is slightly less expensive than the HyperX Predator which is more suited for overclocking.
The heat spreader on this is smooth and dissipates heat greatly. It stays cool even under great workloads, this kit is the best for gamers. You will not be disappointed.
Lastly, it has a CAS latency of 15 and is priced around $85 on the Amazon link. It is plain and simple performance oriented DDR4 RAM that makes a statement with performance alone and does not need to show off with looks.
G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series RAM has great performance, best of all, it is pretty affordable. If you can live without the RGB, we suggest going for this RAM as it is great value for performance.
While people will always prefer TridentZ for its glam looks, the Ripjaws V series of RAM is not bad at the very least. It performs great, so far people have had nothing but great reviews for it.
Almost all tech channels use either this or Corsair Vengeance LPX in their budget build guides because of the value for performance in these memory modules. The one we reviewed and tested was the 16GB 8×2 kit of 3000MHz clock speed.
In all of our tests the memory module performed remarkably, we did not try to overclock it though. But other than that it performed well on both AMD Ryzen CPU and Intel and it worked fine with both.
The G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 16GB 8×2 3000MHz kit has CAS Latency of 15 and costs about $69 on Amazon and Newegg. With such a low price, it was a clear victor for our best budget DDR4 RAM value category.
Best Gaming Aesthetics on a Budget
Although the Vengeance RGB Pro and Vengeance LPX have no difference in performance when it comes to looks, they are on a totally different level.
The Vengeance RGB Pro is one of the all-time favorite memory modules of most tech enthusiasts. The RGB aesthetics of the RAM along with its outstanding performance is a great RAM under the budget of $100.
Performance-wise, we do not see a difference between this and Vengeance LPX. We tried not to differentiate the clock cycles and CAS latency of any RAM to make the review process fair.
In our tests, it was identical to the Vengeance LPX 8×2 kit, but no matter what we say about the performance, the aesthetics were just another matter. It was better looking than most RAM kits we tested that day. It is no doubt one of the best budget DDR4 RAM available in the market with such great aesthetics.
For just under $100 on Amazon and Newegg, this amazing RGB memory module can be yours as well. We would suggest that you find the one with CAS Latency 15, but if you are under the budget, you can find the CAS Latency 16 kit for a cheaper price.
What’s better than RAM that increases performance and speed? RAM that comes cheap and provides quality. That is exactly what the Crucial Ballistix Sport RAM kit is all about. It is the perfect combo of value and performance.
The Ballistix Sport RAM kit is one of the best on-budget DDR4 RAM kits. It comes in 3 colors; white, grey, and red. For a RAM kit, this thing is stylish, giving your rig a very cool look. This kit provides speeds faster than the standard DDR4 kits (up to 3200 MHz), thanks to its multi-channel memory architecture which is sure to make the gamers and performance enthusiasts happy.
It is much more responsive as well. The installation is hassle-free with a simple plug-and-play application and little to no BIOS configuration. It comes as AMD Ryzen-ready and is optimized for the Intel 300 series as well.
The Crucial Ballistix Sport RAM kit is available in multiple assortments. It comes in a minimum of 1×4 RAM module and a maximum of 4×16 RAM kit. The Ballistix Sport is one of the top-tier RAM kits and that too on a budget. Providing speeds and performance faster than a standard DDR4 RAM kit and supporting both Intel and AMD CPUs, this kit is the one to look out for.